BAR HARBOR — Matt DeLaney, the newly appointed director of Jesup Memorial Library, looks forward to moving to Mount Desert Island. The former director of the Millinocket Memorial Library started hybrid work on Aug. 9 and will settle in Southwest Harbor mid-September.
“I’ve been in the public library world for a little over 10 years. I’m excited to work at the Jesup because it has a long history of very high output in terms of programs and services,” said DeLaney.
For DeLaney, libraries are much more than a place to borrow books. He believes they should be a welcoming hub for the community. Libraries “are accessible and welcoming to everyone,” he said, and added that the library, being a destination for visitors from all over the world, attracts so many interesting people.
The library, located at 34 Mount Desert Street, is currently undergoing an expansion in order to serve the needs of more guests. “With the investment in this new building, this library is going to go from being one of the great libraries in the state of Maine to even more than that,” DeLaney said, who added that the library doesn’t have quite enough space for programs and services, and that its technology is also limited.
“Libraries often attract passionate people and when you bring passionate people together in a very disconnected world, unpredictable, serendipitous things can happen. It’s a neutral place where everybody is welcome.”
DeLaney said that just like any person going to a new community to work for a new organization, his personal priorities are getting to know the library’s members and its staff. During his meet and greets at the library in August, he also got to know its patrons. He said the sessions were really useful to learn how the library operates and to get a sense of what is already working.
Over the last five years, DeLaney’s visits to Bar Harbor have consisted of hiking and swimming. He looks forward to the permanent relocation with his wife and son and becoming part of the local community. “It seems like MDI is a great place to raise a family and we’re just excited to get there, to try to become a part of the community, and what better place than the library to do all that?”